Last week Honda Atlas unveiled a new mid-cycle makeover of the Accord, in what is their second car launch in five months. The facelift is a first in three years after the company initially started selling the ninth generation Accord in Pakistan.
While it has become a norm to attribute every car launch to the Auto Development Policy 2016-21, the Accord is one of the many in the list of cars that do not bear fruit from it.
In spite of being labeled as an update, the new Accord packs a real punch with improvements ranging from an enhanced aesthetic appeal to a smarter infotainment unit within.
Starting off with the exterior, the updated Accord borrows heavily from Honda's new "aggressive" design language, which previously made its way to the local market with the launch of the 2016 Civic. The front fascia of the new Accord sees changes in the form of a re-sculpted bumper and an all new pair of LED headlights which are an improvement over its predecessor's dual projectors.
Take a look towards the rear of the vehicle and you will instantly notice that the renewed Accord maintains the boot and bumper design of its predecessor, with the exception of a slightly reconfigured pair of tail lamps.
Other exterior goodies include a refreshed set of wheels, and as a cherry on top, you now get dual tailpipes at the back.
The interior, in addition to the car's underpinnings, remains largely untouched. While things like active noise cancellation and multi-zone climate control system make a return, the only sizeable addition to the interior comes in the form of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Support which now allow you to connect your Android or iOS device to the Accord's infotainment system.
Globally, the area where the refreshed Accord made the biggest stride was the onboard safety equipment. In addition to the original ninth generation Accord's six airbags and body assists, the updated Accord came with what is known as Honda Sense, a suite of driving aids that help enhance the overall safety of the car.
Honda Atlas, however, fails to bring that technology to Pakistan.
The driving aids we get are the adaptive cruise control, lane watch, forward and backwards parking sensors and Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) which are all quite underwhelming, especially when we consider the Accord's price range.
Price brings us to the most polarising aspect of not only the Honda Accord but of any car that comes to Pakistan with an engine larger than 1.8-liters. Naturally, people may be shocked by Honda Atlas’ move to price the new Accord at Rs 11.2 million but when compared to the previous model, it is just a five percent increase.
So why are mid-sized sedans comparatively pricier in our part of the world?
The answer lies in the taxes applied on engines greater than 1.8 liters by our authorities. Since Auto Development Policy of 2016-21 proceeds to ignore cars with larger engines, customs duties continue to skyrocket the price to a point where buying them just fails to make sense to many.
What this means for customers in Pakistan, a land where cars go through heavy taxation before reaching the showroom, is that you can buy both an Audi A6 and a top of the line Honda Civic VTEC Turbo while still having leftover cash for registration and a year worth of fuel.
In this case, would you pick a Honda Accord over a mid-sized luxury sedan and a small-sized sedan? It seems unlikely.
So there you have it, owing to all the new technology and enhanced comfort features that coupled with a consistent exterior design language, the Accord remains a marquee offering by Honda in Pakistan.
However, due to the impact of customs duty on 2.4-liter engines, the price tag once again stands well above the Rs 10 million mark. The price tag alone is what makes it nothing more than "line-up filler" for Honda in the local market.
Since you now have other options to choose from, it seems only a select few would pay over Rs10 millions to drive away in a Honda Accord.
Adan writes to share his passion for cars, culture and gadgetry through words. So far his writings and contributions have made their way to media outlets like PakWheels and Dawn. He tweets @adanali12.